How much can you pack into 50 kilometres or so? Quite a lot, it seems.
She suggested we ride initially to Mödlareuth, about 15 kilometres away. It is known as ‘Little Berlin’. Why? Through the middle of this tiny village the border runs. So it had the works: watchtowers, walls and fences, a museum, even an intact border pole with an original ‘Deutsche Demokratische Republik’ plaque. These are hard to find, since they soon became souvenir items after 1989.
From Mödlareuth we rode on, following small local ‘Grenz-tour’ signs over the plateau. We had anticipated more climbs like yesterday from Blankenstein, but instead we pedalled freely. Small climbs came and went, as is the case with plateaux, but none too difficult. With the wind, the wasps were blown about, frequently hitting our helmets and faces. At one point, I thought I had swallowed one, but it turned out to another large flying object that was soon absorbed by my digestive juices.
Next was the border point, but how to get to it? I found a farm track and path through the forest. Modest it seemed, until we turned a corner to find the ‘Drieländereck’, the ‘Three Land Point’. Why three? Was this not the border between Germany and the Czech Republic? The many border stones told a longer story.
Some had ‘DB’ and ‘DS’, harking back to a time when Bavaria and Saxony were separate states, before the first effort at German unification under Bismarck in the later nineteenth century. Along with Czechoslovakia, these were the three states.
Yes, Czechoslovakia: their stones had ‘ČS’, dating from after 1918 when that state was formed after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Now the ‘S’ has been whited out – since the Czech Republic and Slovakia became separate states in 1993 – but it is still visible. For us, the three states were of course East Germany and West Germany, along with Czechoslovakia. Curiously, but not unexpectedly, none of this history is present at the border point.
This point had been the aim of our ride, so we celebrated with sour cherry juice and mineral water.
Yet another achievement: on the way to Hof and our accommodation for the night, we hit 1500 kilometres!
We pedalled into Hof and the Hotel am Kuhbogen. At 82 Euro with breakfast, it was more than we had payed for a while. But this was a larger centre in the western parts.